Three traits of a bad customer

For a small business, every customer is important. However, there are times where keeping the customer is causing your business more harm than good, particularly if you're investing significant time and effort into maintaining the business relationship. After all, the Pareto principle states that 80 per cent of your sales come from 20 per cent of your clients - those are the ones you want to retain.

Below are three traits of a bad customer you should avoid.

They don't pay on time or at all.

Late or non-paying customers are one of the worst scenarios a business owner can face. This means that you're not getting the money owed to you for a good or service you've already provided. This can have a huge impact on your cash flow cycle and prevents you from paying your own bills.

If the invoice is 60+ days overdue and you've done all you can to chase the payment up politely, then it may be a good idea to call in the debt collectors.

They constantly negotiate.

Negotiation is a natural part of closing a sale, and as business owners, the natural instinct is to give in to prevent the customer from looking elsewhere. This can include lowering the price or throwing in some freebies, but if a customer always tries to talk you down each time, it can hurt your bottom line.

They place unreasonable demands on you.

As with a customer who always tries to get a better deal, one who makes unreasonable requests - that are out of your reach to deliver on - can also waste precious resources and demoralise your staff. For instance, demanding a free product because your customer service took too long to respond, or insisting that a service be provided in three days instead of the usual three weeks.

By 'firing' a bad customer you can devote your time to those that matter and be better off, both financially and emotionally.


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